Milgram Experiment: Issue of Obedience

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Milgram announced in the journal a job offer inviting them to be part of a ‘memory and learning’ analysis, recruiting a total of 40 members, who would be paid four dollars per share. There was no other requirement. Yale University represented the jurisdiction and this, in turn, by the researcher, a severe and reserved professor who would be the one to give the guidance to the subjects.

They were informed that the test consists of three people: the researcher, a teacher, and a student. The volunteers have designated the capacity of the teacher, while the position of the student would be an accomplice of Milgram.

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The professor and the junior were distributed within separate compartments where they could be heard because they did not perceive each other. In one of the compartments, there was an electrified chair where the student would be tied to the electrodes from where he would receive the alleged discharges, while the teacher would be in the room together with the charged shock generator with thirty different switches that increase the intensity in 15 volts, which ranges from 15 volts to 450 volts, supervised by the researcher.

Milgram indicated with labels the intensity of the discharge (moderate, intense, danger: severe discharge and XXX). Although said generator was false, it did not provide any discharge to the student and only produced sound when the switches were pressed. Moreover, the researcher clarified that the discharges could be painful, but in no case could they cause death.

The importance of the experiment fell on the lecturer, whose task was to ask a series of questions to the student and if this failed, the teacher would think the button above the previous one, thus applying a greater shock. However, apparently, the student’s screams were a mere audio simulation, in which each tuning was related to a voltage index of the machine to simulate the reaction caused by the acts of the lecturer. If the lecturer wanted to stop the test, the researcher had a series of predefined answers that encouraged the operation to continue. The answers were: ‘Please continue,’ ‘Please follow,’ ‘the exercise requires you to follow it,’ ‘it is absolutely crucial to continue,’ ‘you have no other choice, you must proceed.’ ranging from a softer tone to the most authoritative as the professor addressed the researcher.

Due to the high tension in the room and the suffering per pupil is evident, many teachers questioned who would be responsible in case the student left with injuries, to which the researcher answered safely: ‘I am responsible,’ This response freed the teachers who continued with the procedure of the experiment.

Many of the lecturers could not stand the pressure to which they were subjected since the agent of authority mentally trapped them. As a result of this, many begin to present nervous symptoms such as trembling, stuttering, moaning when hearing exclamations about the suffering of the students. Because of this, all the lecturers stopped at least once to question the operation. But, it was not enough because once the researcher responded with authority, the vast majority of professors continued with the questions of the applied experiment discharges of higher intensity to such an extent that more than half of the teachers came to apply discharges of up to 450 volts, in which no response was received from the student, who pretended to suffer a cardiovascular attack. These results were enough for the researcher Stanley Milgram to conclude the session.

These results concluded that any ordinary person, who is in charge of an authoritarian person, can become an accomplice of their actions, even acting cruelly.

Obedience is an aspect that has been instilled in us since we were born, through the family, at school obeying teachers and work, in charge of the tasks of the heads. A person feels free of charge by obeying the actions of others, and as a consequence-free from guilt. So a fool with a minimum of authority can conclude dangerous causes.

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